The Indianola Mayor and Board of Aldermen on Monday night declared a state of emergency within the city, outlining new rules for gatherings and business establishments.
The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been on the rise in Mississippi, and as of Tuesday morning there were three positive tests in Sunflower County.
Indianola Mayor Steve Rosenthal said that there were multiple parties over the weekend and some restaurants were still serving food inside, which he said necessitated new rules for such gatherings and establishments.
He said the city will probably see more positive COVID-19 cases in a couple of weeks due to those gatherings.
A person can have the virus and be asymptomatic for about two weeks.
“In response to this epidemic, effective immediately, no gatherings of more than 10 people may occur within the boundaries of the City of Indianola, including, but not limited to dance halls/clubs, bars, taverns, restaurant dining areas, churches, funerals, gymnasiums, or outdoor recreation facilities, with the exception of those establishments involved in the providing of necessities such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, laundry mats, discount and/or dollar stores and material supply houses,” the resolution said in part.
The new rules do not mandate that establishments close.
“These establishments may remain open and Institute such sanitizing procedures as recommended by state and federal guidelines. All restaurants and other eating establishments may continue to serve customers by drive-thru and pick up,” it said.
The board, in the same order, authorized a mandated curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
“You are to remain in your homes during this time, with the exception of those traveling to and from work or attending to medical or other emergencies. This curfew excludes establishments and their employees who provide the necessities,” it said.
The resolution gives the Indianola Police Department new authority to disperse large gatherings.
“The Indianola Police Department is authorized and empowered to enforce such rule of law to immediately disperse such gatherings found to be in violation and to close said establishment(s) and requiring that said establishment(s) shall remain closed until the emergency declared by Proclamation of the Indianola City Board on March 23rd 2020 are deemed lifted pursuant to powers granted under MS Code Annotated,” it said.
Those with questions about the new rules may contact the city.